This week: New Year's Myths and SuperstitionsEdited by: Prosperous Snow Moving Forward
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I remember the New Year's superstitions that Grandma Mary followed every year. What Grandma didn't tell me was that every culture on Earth has different New Year's superstitions, and some of them may conflict with those I was raised with.
My grandmother believed if following certain superstitions every New Year. She also had a favorite New Year's myth that she would recite each New Year's day. I could always depend on Grandma to say "What you do on New Year's Day, you will be doing every day for the rest of the year." I could also depend on Grandma not to serve leftovers on New Year's day, while making sure she had a great big pot of freshly cooked black eyed peas. These were superstitions and myths that came from my grandmother's cultural background.
Every culture has different myths and superstitions that, are believed, to bring prosperity and luck in the New Year. This is something that we, as writers, have to remember when we are writing stories. If group of characters is composed of people from different cultural background, each character will have different superstitions and myths. This means that conflict could arise when one character ignore or makes light of the superstitions or myths of another character.
The first New Year's day, I celebrated with my housemate I didn't know that her family never ate pork on New Year's day. I suggested making black eyed peas with pigs feet, which was a dish my grandmother made on New Year's day. My housemate was shocked, because, in her cultural background, eating pork on New Year's attracted bad luck. When she made the black eyed peas, she put beef in it. For me the type of meat didn't matter, because I'm not superstitious when it comes to food.
When you have a group of characters, with different cultural backgrounds, you can create tensions and conflict with their superstitions and myths. This probably works best if the characters are celebrating a New Year or some other important occasion. However, it can be used anytime one needs to create tension in a story. If you need ideas for superstitions, do an internet search for "New Year's myths" or "New Year's superstitions and traditions".
Excerpt: Leia had heard the stories from her mother. Her words still echo - "When in pain, go to the water at night. It has the answers." Her mother, Juana, lost her husband after an year of marriage. The villages deemed her "unlucky and ominous" as bad luck struck her husband after she came into his life. Her only friend was Gwanita, who was in the hut next to hers. It has been said the lake bears the soul with the wisdom and vile of her great grandmother and she would help in times of need.
Excerpt: I knew Jonesey was a lunatic. How he passed his PsychEvals and earned a berth on the UNSS Grackle, I'll never know.
Excerpt: Legolas felt conflicted.
Excerpt: Ho Wang opened his eyes as they met the thatched ceiling above. The priest swung his legs to dangle off the side of his bed, a piece of ascension tree bark raised above the dirt by a wooden shelf. He sat facing a support log, rubbing his eyes. Ho gave the table in the center of the hut a regretful glance. The mud brick slab with a matching chair was littered with open books. Beside his mess was a piece of parchment filled with scribbles from the quill that rested on it. There was no point in fixating on something that he could not chance. He had stayed up late studying again, he would pay the price again.
Excerpt: The water rippled, slowed around the bend, stilled into glass, stopped chuckling as it fractured the reflection of Amelia’s face in a broken mirror. “Ugh. That’s not me.” She scrambled back up the steep bank, slipped, began sliding. Her hands grasped at clutches of thick wet grass.
Excerpt: It feels like yesterday when I turned 16, and it turned my entire life upside down. Not realizing it until it was too late, but my family was hiding a big secret. We’re called the seekers and were from an ancient line who have the power to change things before they happen.
Submitted by Readers
Excerpt: Ruth stepped into the kitchen and put a hand on John’s shoulder. “Are you sure about this? He could believe for another year or so.”
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Steven, Rejected By All writes: Sci-fi Christmas stories? I remember a poem from an old Omni magazine years ago that was a parody of the Moore one that began:
"'Twas the night before Christmas and all through my home
Not a creature was stirring, not even my clone..."
And MAD Magazine's Frank Jacobs did another parody looking at world overcrowding, including a list of reindeer pulling the sleigh that was a mile long.
Submitted2publisher writes: I never heard of Krampas until a few years ago. I’m almost 70 would you consider him sci-fi or horror?
brom21 writes: Thanks for the NL! I am totally new to this Christmas sci-fi story concept. I only write fantasy so this story challenge will be interesting. This holiday is truly different and peculiar. Good luck to all those who take the writing project! Merry Christmas!
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